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Nothing to hide on coal blocks, PM needs no 'honesty' certificate: Govt

The government has nothing to hide on the coal block allocations, which were done on basis of recommendations of state governments, and it does not need certificates from anybody, senior ministers said.

twitter-logo IANS   New Delhi     Last Updated: October 17, 2013  | 00:00 IST
Have nothing to hide on coal blocks: Govt
PHOTO: Associated Press

The government has nothing to hide on the coal block allocations, which were done on basis of recommendations of state governments, and it does not need certificates from anybody, senior ministers said on Thursday.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V Narayanasamy told reporters it has been the government's stand that allocations have been made to public sector undertakings and some private companies "on the recommendations of state governments where coal blocks were available".

"We have nothing to hide," he said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, meanwhile, hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its demand of the prime minister's resignation, and said the government does not need certificates.

Narayanasamy did not comment on former coal secretary P.C. Parakh's claim that it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who decided on the allocation of two Odisha coal blocks in 2005, over which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a first information report (FIR) Tuesday.

"The matter is subjudice. It is being investigated by the CBI," the minister said.

The FIR named Parakh and industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla for alleged irregularities and criminal conspiracy in the allocation of the two blocks.

Parakh said he did not know why the CBI thought Birla and he were in a conspiracy, when the person who took the decision was not part of it. "If a conspiracy is there, everyone is part of the conspiracy. If we are accused, the PM is as much a part of the conspiracy," he contended.

Asked about Parakh's remarks, Sharma said the fundamental question was whether "everything be questioned" once a decision was taken.

"Now who is going to give certificate to prime minister of India, who is globally respected, or to his ministers? I don't think we need certificates," Sharma told a TV channel.

The prime minister did nothing wrong by signing the coal allocation file, he said.

An atmosphere where ministers or bureaucracy do not sign papers out of fear was a "recipe for disaster", Sharma said, contending the economic environment has been vitiated over the past three years.

"You cannot hold decision-making to ransom so that nobody takes a decision, everybody is fearful," he said.

The BJP on Wednesday had said that the prime minister should take "final responsibility" for irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks, and resign.

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